Should Friday’s debate be postponed?

McCain wants to postpone Friday night’s debate until a bipartisan consensus can be reached on the bailout plan. Obama wants to go ahead. Both are meeting with President Bush Thursday.

Should they debate the next night? What do you think?

Here’s a story on the subject:

The economic crisis and raw politics threatened to derail the first presidential debate as John McCain challenged Barack Obama to delay Friday’s forum and unite to help Washington fix the financial mess. Obama rebuffed his GOP rival, saying the next president needs to "deal with more than one thing at once."

The White House rivals maneuvered Wednesday to claim the leadership role in resolving the economic turmoil that has overshadowed their campaign. Obama said he would proceed with his debate preparations while consulting with bailout negotiators and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. McCain said he would stop all advertising, fundraising and other campaign events and return to Washington and work for a bipartisan solution.

"It’s my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama said at a news conference in Clearwater, Fla. "It’s going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once."

But McCain said they must focus on a bipartisan solution as the Bush administration’s $700 billion bailout proposal seemed headed for defeat. If not, McCain said ominously, credit will dry up, people will no longer be able to buy homes, life savings will be at stake and businesses will not have enough money to pay workers.

"It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration’s proposal," McCain said. "I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time."

President Bush invited both candidates to the White House on Thursday, along with congressional leaders, in hopes of securing a bill to rescue the economy. Bush took the unusual step Wednesday night of calling Obama directly to invite him, White House press secretary Dana Perino said. An Obama spokesman said the senator would attend.

In a joint statement Wednesday night, the candidates said the country faces "a moment of economic crisis," and called for political unity to solve it because "the jobs, savings and the prosperity of the American people are at stake." Both said the Bush plan was "flawed."

"We cannot risk an economic catastrophe," they said. "Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain’s representative in debate negotiations, said McCain will not attend the debate "unless there is an agreement that would provide a solution" to the financial crisis. Graham, R-S.C., told The Associated Press that the agreement would have to be publicly endorsed by Obama, McCain, the White House and congressional leaders, but not necessarily given final passage by the House and Senate.

Asked whether the debate could go forward if McCain doesn’t show, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "My sense is there’s going to be a stage, a moderator, an audience and at least one presidential candidate."

37 thoughts on “Should Friday’s debate be postponed?

  1. Tim

    Assuming a deal isn’t reached, postpone it. Besides, the debate is on foreign, not economic policy. Sure, the candidates need to communicate with the electorate, but foreign policy isn’t really one of the most pressing issues this week. Plus, if you don’t know the candidate’s positions by now on issues then you must have had your head in the sand. As a result, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the debates are really only serving the purpose to let the candidates take potshots at each other. I don’t expect to learn anything new…

  2. p.m.

    No, the debate should go on.
    McCain will fly to Washington, rally the Republicans, get the bailout passed or ironed out, and then fly to Mississippi actually having done his job, while Obama stays on the campaign trail doing what he does best, ignoring his duties as a senator to huff and puff the hot air of unspecified change.

  3. Bart

    For once, it is time to stop the crap and both need to get down to the business they were sent to Washington to take care of. One of the two will be sworn in come January. The one sworn in will have to deal with the mess left behind and should be involved with the decisions made at this juncture. It is that important and we do not need more partisan garbage from either side. If a plan is reached in one day, great but it is never a good thing to rush into a complicated issue like this one with a solution arrived at too hastily. It took years to get here and it won’t be solved in one day either.
    Come election day we should all remember who was more interested in playing politics and who or at least presented an outward display of who was more interested in getting this situation addressed and solved.
    There is no glory in trying to do two things at one time here and for the next few days until something is decided, it should have the highest priority for both candidates. Multi-tasking is not the issue and personally, I think it was a cheap shot from the Obama camp to even put it out there.
    With that said, this crisis has moved me to the center and my vote is not committed to either one at this point in time. I will watch to see how each one handles themselves over the next few days and then decide. It should become clear who the leader is and who the self-serving politician is. The leader gets my vote.

  4. Grace

    The debate should take place, and should focus on economic issues as subject is timely and country is highly interested in candidates’ views and proposals. Foreign policy issues, also important, can be addressed in a later debate.
    McCain’s attempt to postpone is a political gimmick, pure and simple. It’s grandstanding, not straight talk.
    RE Bart’s comment: “Come election day we should all remember who was more interested in playing politics and who or at least presented an outward display of who was more interested in getting this situation addressed and solved.”
    I hope so. Obama called McCain Wednesday morning to discuss working together on a pragmatic and nonpartisan solution to the banking crisis. It’s reported McCain gave no answer for six hours, until he unilaterally suggested postponing the debate — this when the country is primed for a debate and answers to our economic turmoil.
    We live in an age of instant communication and both candidates have trusted Senate colleagues to keep them apprised and bring their solutions into the negotiations. (Among others, McCain has Sen. Graham; Obama has Joe Biden.)
    Bring on the debate.

  5. p.m.

    Yeah, Obama’s trusted Senate colleague, Joe Biden, the one who told Katie Couric FDR appeared on TV to calm people down after the 1929 market crash, you know, back when Hoover was president, and there was no TV, just radio.
    Before the debate, can we have Al Gore arrested?
    “If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration,” Gore said.
    That, Grace, is grandstanding — a former vice president calling on youth to break the law.
    Obama’s phone call to McCain, if it occurred, was more grandstanding, drawing a line in the sand, because Obama let it be publicized.
    Obama has all the faux morality of the USC quarterback who keyed a visiting professor’s car.

  6. Phillip

    Here’s an idea: since Obama, Biden, and McCain are all currently in the Senate and would presumably have equal need to get back to Washington to help hammer out this economic plan, that leaves Sarah Palin as the only one free for Friday night’s debate.
    Even though I support Obama, I would be more than willing to give the entire ninety minutes to Ms. Palin if she would be willing to answer questions from Jim Lehrer on foreign policy. Surely that would be OK with McCain…dontcha think?

  7. wtf

    Debates must go on.
    McCain hasn’t cast one vote or worked on one bill since April.
    The House & Senate announced yesterday that they are 98% there on a bill that the President agrees on and will have the rest wrapped up by the weeked. Bush wants a bill by Monday….all seems to be on track.
    The point is McCain isn’t needed. He’s running for cover. He found out that Bush was going on national television to tell the American people what the price tag would be for the Republican mistakes and his 26 years of de-regulation. The facts about his campaign manager receiving lobby money from Fannie & Feddie for more de-regulation as recent as THIS MONTH. Polls are going against him. In his moment of crisis, what did McCain do?
    McCain panicked. Pure & simple.
    Game over.

  8. mattheusmei

    The debates must go on. Period. that’s it – it’s fine if they need to go to DC and vote, Obama hasn’t voted in two months and McCain hasn’t voted in 5. But the debate must go on!

  9. PDickens

    Postpone the debate until an agreement is reached. I, for one, have no interest in listening to Mr. Obama blow any more hot air. His idea of “change” seems to be along the lines of “call if you need me.” Well hello Mr. Obama. Presidents cannot say “call if you need me.” They cannot vote “present.” They actually have to take a stand and make decisions. These actions certainly appear to be a foreign concept to Mr. Obama.

  10. Lee Muller

    Let Barack Obama debate Bob Barr, while John McCain tends to business.
    Barr would strip the gloss off Obama in a New York minute.

  11. Bart

    I’ve made up my mind on how to vote. I will go behind the “curtain”, study the ballot very carefully and with all the certainty and decisiveness of a politician, I will cast my vote for – envelope please – TA DA!! “PRESENT”. After listening to the posturing and ineptitude of both candidates and no other options available, what else can I do?

  12. Norm Ivey

    The debates should proceed.
    McCain is grandstanding. He isn’t returning to Washington until after he delivers a speech this morning. If he truly felt their participation was necessary to address the crisis, he should have asked Obama to return to Washington with him last week.
    It appears that those who have been working on this all week have nearly reached an agreement. McCain rushing in at the last minute will serve no purpose except to possibly prod Republicans to support the plan.
    The McCain camapign’s suggestion that Friday’s debate replace the VP debate next Thursday, and the VP debate be postponed indefinitely was just more evidence that the campaign is uncertain about McCain, Palin or both.

  13. Lee Muller

    Harry Reid stated that he was not going to let this be forced through by Democrats, that he wanted a bunch of Republicans on board, and that John McCain needed to come back to DC to work out a bill with GOP support.
    Then, before McCain arrived, Reid and Schumer called McCain’s return “a political stunt”.

  14. bud

    Of course the debate should go forward. McCain should be able to multi-task. As president he’ll be forced to deal with many issues at one time. Let the debates begin.

  15. bud

    I’m not convinced this crisis requires the immediate attention the president says it does. I just checked the markets and they are behaving rather calmly to all the hoopla. The DOW, S & P 500 and Nasdaq are all up a bit today and are about even for the week. Oil and other commodities, are pretty much where they were a week ago. The dollar is down against the Euro, which is a bit of a problem, but not one that signals an imminent collapse of the entire economy. I’m getting more and more of a sense that the GOP is using this situation for political purposes by trying to scare the voters. It wouldn’t be the first time. If McCain doesn’t show up for the debate shame on him. He’s clearly playing politics, nothing more. His tactics in this campaign are in the Atwater/Rove vein and hardly reflects well on the senator from Arizona.

  16. jo

    I think it should have be cancled, the smart thing if you are running for president to know what’s in that 700 B deal.
    I would have as president ordered them to be there, Bush has the balls he’s just riding out his time , shame.
    Our world’s problems will not be fixed over a debate.And neither one of these presidental hopefuls can fix it, it has become a joke on the American people .
    We American’s have a poor choice for presidents this year,why do you think that is ? Every body else knows there’s not a cure, greed won and is still winning.

  17. Tim C

    If McCain’s campaign has time to run Alaska, I think he has time to debate for 2 hours. He can also communicate via email, blackberry etc. Partisans on both sides blindly defend their candidate like it is the Carolina-Clemson football game. It’s clear we need leadership. But only now does he see fit to show up? Maybe we need a law that replaces legislators, governors etc. when they seek national office until such time as the election is over. Thus the Lt. Governor of Alaska would be Governor and Obama, McCain, and Biden would have replacement Senators with their staffs appointed by the governor of their states. Looking at the poll numbers, the cynic in me says it was all political. And he would postpone Palen for several more weeks or exempt her from debate altogether.

  18. Coryblu

    There’s an obvious solution to this problem. Let the Presidential candidates “roll up their sleeves” in Washington, and change tomorrow’s debate to be between the Vice-Presidential candidates. Hmm … I wonder why the McCain campaign didn’t propose that idea?

  19. Tim C

    Coryblu, their idea was to replace the VP debate with this one thus killing two birds with one stone. The move came after the Palen “I’ll look it up and get back to you” statement. In all seriousness, I may have understood the debate delay if he also hadn’t pulled all the ads. It was the combination of the two that showed me what it was.

  20. coryblu

    Tim – A facetious tone is hard to convey in a blog post, but that’s where I was going. When they made the suggestion to skip the VP debate, it all became crystal clear. The debates should go on, of course – We’re only a few weeks away from having to choose the team who will ultimately have to handle this and many other serious problems, and I want to hear all four of them speak away from TelePrompTers, handlers, spin-meisters and pundits. The debates are the only way average voters, especially those not in swing states, get to do that. It appears that one team is trying to avoid that, and we should all wonder why.

  21. Tim

    Bud, as usual your sophomoric remarks are not only uncalled for but way off the mark. McCain can’t multi-task? Anyone who puts that argument forward, including Obama, just shows how way off base they really are. It’s a shame that in the midst of this crisis you can’t even take off your partisan glasses. You don’t agree with or like McCain. Fine, we get that, but this immature, illogical reasoning that you’ve got really has me wondering if you’re really just a high schooler with some extra time on your hands.
    And would you also get off this Blackberry thing? McCain has never said he invented the Blackberry, unlike Gore who claimed the internet. You can’t really expect anyone to take you seriously if you keep saying things like this. Please, grow up.

  22. bud

    Tim, Al Gore NEVER, EVER said he invented the internet. That’s a part of talk radio fiction that deluded many brain-dead followers of brother Rush to ridicule Gore. The fact that you still believe the internet claim to be factual shows how good the GOP is. They can simply make stuff up, spin it around on radio for a while until the MSM picks it up. It then becomes quasi-factual in the eyes of the public. Whola, a lie becomes a fact and Gore suddenly looks foolish.
    Here’s the bottom line in all this. McCain is falling behind in the polls and he’s flayling about desperately to draw attention away from the failures of the Bush years, his biggest handicap. He can’t plausibly say he’s the man of change when he’s agreed with Bush 9 times out of 10 on a wide range of policies, many very unpopular. So he tries to change the subject with distractions. And sometimes, like with the dreadful Palin selection, they work. But eventually the American public get so fed up with the state of the economy McCain has to try a new tactic.
    The debate ploy, though desperate, really is a good move on McCain’s part. He gets a two-fer. He can claim he’s above partisan politics while getting his horrible VP choice off the hook, at least temporarily, from debating Biden. I don’t really think McCain is afraid to debate per-say, but he does sense an opportunity to score more points by playing the politics of fear, a tried and true strategy for the Republicans. Hopefully Obama can convince the voters this is the shameless ploy that it so obviously is. We shall wait and see.

  23. bud

    It’s the silly season so I just can’t resist. Here’s McCain’s quote from a June NY Times article about his inability to use e-mail:
    “I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself,” I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need.”
    “I don’t e-mail. I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail.”

  24. ellis

    It impresses me that McCain would rather be in DC to work on a solution for his country’s financial situation. A debate has been going on during the whole year and Obama could surely spend time in DC to show us what he is made up of, or not. I believe Gov. Palin is exactly who we need to debate Bieden who isn’t sure about American history or I don’t know where he studied. Yes, a President should be able to focus on two things at once, but when one in American’s financial future or a debate on foreign issues, I would hope our President would focus on American’s financial future & solutions to solving a problem. Too bad Obama may not get his way in having a debate, but he is use to whinning. The press seems to be an enabler to Obama by giving more press time to him. It shows us more of what he doesn’t have and how he wants his way and will not negotiate.

  25. Tim

    Bud, do your research…
    “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet” Gore said when asked to cite accomplishments that separate him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on March 9, 1999.
    Again, in about as many days, my second touche to you. On the contrary, the fact that you don’t believe that Al Gore claimed “initiative in creating the Internet” shows how much of the left-wing kool-aid you’ve drunk. I could care less about the GOP. They could sink or swim and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. But I’m going to call foul whenever you or someone else starts spewing pure idiocy such as McCain can’t multi-task or that he invented the Blackberry.
    Again, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously if you’re going to continue with sophomoric arguments.

  26. Lee Muller

    Leftist ridicule John McCain for not using email,…
    ….and ridicule Sarah Palin for using e-mail with any expectation of privacy.
    John McCain has on several occasions over the years said that he does not like to type or use a computer because it hurts his elbow on the arm he broke when he was shot down in Vietnam.

  27. bud

    Tim, read the damn quote you just put up. Does Al Gore say he invented the internet? NO HE DOES NOT. In the context of this exchange it is crystal clear what Gore was referring to, and even Newt Gingrich gives him credit for this, was his work, in his capacity as a legislator, in securing the funding and helping foster the legal environment so that scientists and engineers could work on the necessary protocols and engineering challenges to make the internet possible. HE DEFINITELY DID NOT SAY HE INVENTED THE INTERNET. NOR DID HE IMPLY THAT. HE DID NOT EVER USE THE WORD “INVENT”.
    On the other hand, John McCain DID acknowledge his skills in using a computer are low.

  28. Palindrome

    Just watched the first two clips from Palin’s interview with Katy Couric. OH MY GAWD!
    Honestly, she is the least qualified person ever to be on a campaign ticket…
    not a inch of intellectual depth.
    This woman could be President? McCain has to be joking… there’s got to be some type of October surprise planned where he dumps her for another candidate who won’t be able to be vetted in time for the election (wouldn’t be the first time he dumped a woman for his own personal gain).

  29. Lee Muller

    As if Al Gore and Obama have any “intellectual depth”. LMAO!!
    And Katy Couric is such a dolt that anyone looks dumb by trying to converse with her.

  30. Tim

    invent: to originate or create as a product of one’s own ingenuity, experimentation, or contrivance
    create: to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes
    Doesn’t seem much of a difference between those two definitions. It’s quite a stretch for Al Gore to make the statement when all he did was fund a program. In actuality, all it is is Al Gore trying to score political points by trying to claim something that he personally had no hand in. Which, ultimately, is what you’re doing day in and day out by reiterating this stupid thing about McCain inventing the Blackberry (which is not something that even came out of McCain’s mouth, by the way).
    Criticize McCain all you like, I don’t care. Some of your criticisms have merit, others are born out of blind partisanship. I don’t really like the man all that much, I’m only voting for him because he is the lesser of two evils. But again, as long as you put forth sophomoric things like McCain can’t multi-task or he invented the Blackberry I’m going to continue to call you on it.

  31. Palindrome

    Well, Lee, apparently you consider a Harvard education to be the equivalent of a degree earned over six years at a variety of community colleges and obscure state schools.
    Keep lowering the bar!
    Do you think Palin is qualified to be President of the United States?

  32. bud

    McCain’s aide did say something about the Blackberry in the context of McCain having something to do with it’s creation. No one on the liberal side of things actually suggested McCain had anything to do with inventing the Blackberry. It’s just a joke that everyone on the left gets.
    Sadly, folks on the right are apparently too stupid to understand the difference between a bit of light humor and an actual, bonafide claim. Geez this is such nonsense that we liberals have to constantly fight or our guy will get caught up in it again.
    Why can’t the right-wing nutjobs give Gore the same credit? He made a claim, that has some merit, that his work in the Senate helped foster the development of the internet. It was an answer in response to a question given in a political context. Did Gore overstate his roll? Perhaps. I’m sure you could do some research and shoot some holes into his claim. But this idiocy on the right that Al Gore said he invented the internet is absurd. He never even used the word.

  33. Lee Muller

    Obama’s education at Columbia landed him a $15,000 a year job as a community organizer, funded by a radical Muslim from Nigeria.
    Obama’s Harvard education was paid for by another radical Black Muslim, Kahlid Monsour. With that law degree, the best Obama could do in in three years was earn $25,000. His wife did no better.
    …Until the Daley machine put Obama on retainer for $8,000 a month to start putting together federal grant money to real estate swindler Rezko and the Nation of Islam to “revitalize” slums. All those projects are now bankrupt.

  34. bud

    McCain finished very near the bottom of his Naval Academy class. Clearly he’s not intellecual giant and it shows. His choice of Palin is now clearly exposed as a political ploy nothing more. His idiotic statement that the fundamentals of the economy are sound, followed within days of his backing out of the debate illustrates what a dufus he is. But he keeps on pushing political buttons hoping something will stick. Stay tuned for more October surprises. Perhaps an invasion of Iran?

  35. Lee Muller

    Clinton’s flunking out of Oxford doesn’t seem to bother Democrats.
    Gore’s barely passing at Harvard, his being expelled from divinity school, and his flunking out of law school don’t seem to bother Democrats.
    Ted Kennedy’s paying others to take his tests for him is not problem.
    And if intellect were important to Democrats, they wouldn’t run people like Alcie Hastings, James Clyburn and Maxine Waters.

Comments are closed.